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Zymosan—the beginning of a long, complex and fascinating research
In 1900, von Dungern observed that adding yeast to blood serum inactivated the complement system.The complement system known today consists of 20 proteins which are found in greatest concentration in the plasma, precursors for enzymes which can be activated to promote destruction of foreign cells.They also induce inflammation through which the action of phagocytic cells is enhanced to engulf and digest foreign matters.In 1914, Coca  found that the inactivation was due to the removal of the component C´3 of the complement system.A more effective inhibitor „Zymin“ was found by Whitehead, Gorden and Wormal  by extracting baker’s yeast with alcohol and ether. Pillemer and Ecker  developed zymosan, an insoluble yeast fraction by boiling yeast in alkaline pH, digestion with trypsin and subsequently washed with water and alcohol, which was more potent in the inactivation of complement component C´3. With zymosan, Pillemer was able to isolate a new protein of the complement system involved in the non-specific immunity which he named as ´properdin´ - factor P as we know today. 
With this discovery, a series of studies on host-defense system began with the help of zymosan and later other polysaccharides.

The beginning of the Story the "Zymosan"

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 ß-glucans and their functional mechanisms

Earlier studies using zymosan generated often contradictory results because the preparations were not unique and the compositions were not characterized in depth. Basically, zymosan preparations were composed of glucan, mannan, protein, chitin, lipid and ash.

The percentage of each component varied with the preparation methods. 
With the advance of modern analytical and biological methods, several key functional effects related to zymosan, could be ascribed to its major component 
     ß-glucan with -1,3/ß-1,6-linkage.


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 Major research areas were:
-Activation of phagocytosis,
-Resistance to infection
-Influence of cholesterol synthesis
-Survival after irradiation
 A more detailed and comprehensive review on zymosan was given by Fizpatrick and DiCarlo